Showers in Costa Rica
Last Updated: Feb 28, 2012
During your stay in Costa Rica, you may encounter the country's famous showers, powered by electric shower heads that may be bristling with multi-colored wires held together with black electrical tape. While the combination of electricity and water pouring over your body may seem alarming, don't be concerned – these showers are generally safe and easy to operate, once you know how they work.
A primitive version of a tankless, on-demand hot water system, these showers funnel water through a shower head, which contains an electric coil that warms the bath water upon contact. Though the shower may have two knobs, only one will typically work. The shower head will also have a sliding button, generally with three positions. The middle position is for unheated water, which may be all you’ll want in hot beach towns. If you want warm water, flip the switch to the right; if you want hot water, flip left. Choose your preferred water temperature before turning the water on.
When you're ready, turn the shower on slowly: more water pressure, even on the hot setting, means colder water. Twist and tweak to your skin's desire, and you'll eventually find your ideal water temperature. Keep in mind that, even at their hottest setting, most electric showers don't get hot enough to scald.
Today, more and more of Costa Rica's hotels and homes have hot water heaters, which pipe hot water to faucets, shower heads and washing machines. But any true Costa Rican experience involves braving the nuances of a "suicide shower."